Not only did Bryan Reynolds open his account for Westerlo and Sam Vines and his Antwerpers continue in a positive light, but Yanks Abroad also discovered another Yank playing in Belgium.
Antwerp 2 – 1 Seraing
Sam Vines continued in the Great Old’s starting line-up as the league leaders continued their winning streak with their ninth victory of the season. They sent Seraing home with no points Friday night after goals from Toby Alderweireld and Vincent Janssen in the 2-1 victory.
The hosts dominated possession and made the most of their opportunities with both of their shots on target finding the back of the net in the first half of the game in the north of Belgium.
Belgian international, Alderweireld scored after just seven minutes from a corner kick that Calvin Stengs delivered right inside the six-yard box. The former Tottenham defender stepped in front of a few defenders and headed it home from close range. This was his third goal in three games.
Thirteen minutes later Belgium’s oldest club doubled their lead when Alderweireld played the ball forward from the halfway line and picked out Pieter Gerkens inside the 18-yard box. The Belgian immediately played it back to Janssen, who struck it from just inside the D. A slight deflection wrong-footed the Seraing keeper as the Dutchman celebrated his sixth goal of the season.
The visitors got one back just before the half, courtesy of Antoine Bernier but it was too little, too late for the Walloons who suffered back-to-back losses. Up next for the undefeated club will be a trip to Kortrijk after the international break.
Charleroi 2 – 3 Westerlo
It was a good night for goals in Charleroi and an even better night for Bryan Reynolds, who opened his Westerlo account, scoring after just three minutes to help his team collect three much-needed points. Maxim De Kuyper also contributed with his first of the season, while Kyan Vaesen did the same with the game-winner.
The American defender was almost responsible for gifting a goal to Charleroi when he played a lame back pass to his keeper, Sinan Bolat, that Daan Heymans pounced on but was unable to make it count. To make amends, at the other end Reynolds beat Herve Koffi to register his first strike for Westerlo.
De Cuyper, who assisted on the first goal, got one for himself when he outsmarted Koffi to double the lead after just 10 minutes. But if the Kemphans thought the game was already over, they were sorely mistaken because the Zebras charged forward. Nine minutes before the intermission, Isaac Mbenza cut the lead in half.
Both teams had their chances in the second half but it was Charleroi who struck again with just two minutes left to regulation time. Youssouph Badij thought he rescued a point for his side from a goal via a corner kick, but before the home fans could stop celebrating, their keeper was picking the game-winning ball out of the back of his net. Mathais Fixelles played a deep ball that second-half sub Vaesen had no trouble finishing.
Westerlo will be in Belgian Cup action against Aalst this coming weekend and will then return to league play when they host Zulte Waregem the following week.
Genk 1 – 0 Gent
Mark McKenzie went the distance for the Smurfs in this hard-fought contest against Gent, where the American helped his keeper, Maarten Vandevoordt, keep his third clean sheet of the season. The visitors edged ball possession, 52%-48% but Genk dominated in shots on target. Just one found its mark and that was by Bryan Heynen very late in the game.
With neither team seemingly able to find a way into their opponent’s nets, a 90th-minute free kick by Mike Trésor was the Buffaloes undoing. The Belgian winger picked out his team captain who happily nodded his fifth goal of the season into the back of the net. The victory keeps Genk in second place as they head into the international break. When they come back, they’ll make a trip to the seaside to take on Oostende.
Owen Otasowie has been relegated to the second team, so will be covered there until he makes his way back to the first team. Club NXT (aka Club Brugge II) went up against SK Beveren. Otasowie played and scored an own goal. Also in the NXT starting line-up was Mauricio Cuevas, a Los Angelinos who was until recently on the books at LA Galaxy. Tyler Wolff did not make the team sheet for SK however. The game ended all square with both sides scoring twice.
The Brugge boys will make the long trip to Virton in two weeks, while Beveren see some Belgian Cup action over the weekend against URSL Vise.
Jorge Hernandez stayed rooted to the Mechelen bench when they hosted OH Leuven on Saturday afternoon. Neither team could find the back of the net, so shared the points in this scoreless draw. Up next for the Kakkers is a trip to Brugge to take on Club.